As a husky or sled dog owner, you are likely to be doing a lot more walking than the average person.
Many new owners ask us how much exercise their husky or sled dog will need. Without being familiar with the dog in question, is difficult to specify just how much exercise any particular husky will require. On average, a good hours walk every day, with longer hikes at the weekend, should keep an adult husky fit and happy. Of course, more than this is fine too. We would recommend an adult husky gets out a couple of times a day, so maybe an hour in the morning and a shorter walk in the evening, or vice-versa.
Husky and sled dog owners need to be aware that huskies often suffer in hot conditions. Huskies and sled dogs have evolved to survive in the freezing Arctic. As a result they have thick insulating fur coats, that make heat-stroke a very real (and very dangerous) possibility. During the summer months, we would strongly recommend that you only walk you husky in the cooler parts of the day - in the early morning and in the evening.
As a husky or sled dog owner you will need a good pair of walking shoes and a waterproof coat. A good strong lead and a secure, comfortable collar for your husky, as well as
a walking belt, such as the Cardio Canine - Hands Free Human Harness and Dog Leash System,
are all essentials.
A harness for your dog is also highly recommended.
Of course, you should always make sure that you have bags to pick up after your dog. You can now get handy bag dispensers that clip onto your belt, such as the Bags on Board Bone Dispenser which comes with biodegradable, eco-friendly bags.
Puppies need very little walking while they are still young and their bones are growing; they will usually wear themselves out running around the house and garden, and so the exercise factor is not too much of an issue at a young age. The main things to make sure of are that they enjoy a wide range of social and sensory experiences while they are young; they need to meet other dogs and start exploring the world! Once they have had their injections and have the all-clear to go out and about, take them to the park or to the beach and let them meet and play with other dogs. Again, don't try and walk them too far, and do be careful not to walk them too far on hard surfaces. Impact injuries from too much exercise on concrete at a young age my lead to problems with bones and joints later on in the dog's life.
One of the many joys of husky ownership is the feeling of being out in the wilds with your dog, and enjoying a good hike through a forest or along a coastline together.
(another joy of husky ownership is that hikes are never quite as tiresome when you have a sled dog to help pull you up hills!)
Make sure before you set out on a hike that you are well prepared to provide for yourself and your dog.
Take enough WATER for you both, and a collapsible travel water bowl
for your dog to drink from.
Do not rely on there being fresh water along the way for your dog - water in streams and rivers may be polluted even if it looks clean, and you should NEVER allow your dog to drink from puddles for the same reason.
Take snacks for yourself and your husky, but only feed your dog lightly when out walking - a biscuit now and then as you stop to take in the view is more than enough. Heavy feeding 'on the go' can lead discomfort and more seriously, 'Bloat'.
We would recommend you take a Pocket First Aid Kit in case your dog is injured along the way (see more information on First Aid Here).
We would also recommend that you carry a mobile phone with you at all times, and inform others of your intended route and expected time of return.
There are many companies that supply walking and hiking equipment designed specifically for those out and about with their dogs. The ranges of products available vary in price and quality.
It is easy to spend a lot of money on hiking products. You will probably find that while it is worth investing in good quality products that will stand the test of time, it is not always necessary to buy the most expensive products available. Most of our own equipment is fairly mid-range in price, and has done us well so far.
With some items you may it is worth the extra cost for the top-of-the-range product. 'Doggy back-packs' are one example of a product you may wish to ensure you choose wisely and opt for quality over price, as it is your dog who will be 'wearing' the pack, and it is important as such to ensure that the product is extremely well designed to ensure the weight is balanced and the pack will not put undue stress on any part of the dog. While cheaper versions are available (which may well be satisfactory in their design) this may be one of the instances where it is worth the extra investment to ensure your dogs comfort and wellbeing is maximized.
The outdoor supply company Mountainsmith
have some great hiking and travel gear for dogs and dog owners.
Their Mountainsmith K9 Cube Dog Pack
is a complete kit for hikes with your dog. The pack features a padded shoulder strap for your comfort. For your dog it has a drop down food tray and collapsible food and water bowls with PEVA waterproof liners. For longer trips it also has a removable PEVA lined food container for overnight stays.
Two mesh side pockets for carrying tennis balls, and also comes with a soft sided frisbee.
For shorter hikes, the Mountainsmith K9 Trainer Lumbar Pack is a waist pack designed specifically for dog owners, with built-in loops for leashes and pockets for toys and treats.